4 Places Where You Can Shop Small This Holiday Season

It’s almost here, people! ‘Tis the season to shop, and this year we have a whole new focus. This pandemic has affected us all in different ways, and I’m sure you all know atleast one local business that is struggling. With Black Friday (11/27) and Small Business Saturday (11/28) upon us, it’s time to do our part and recognize some exceptional small businesses that may help us check some items off the list. So, this year we’re focusing on shopping small and helping out those in our community. Check out these great options, all of which can ship directly to you!

Upcycle Maine Home Furnishings

This is a personal favorite of mine. They specialize in locally crafted gifts from various artists, as well as home décor, refinished furniture, and custom orders. I have purchased various items from them over the last 3 years that they’ve been open, and I’m always using them for home décor inspiration. They’re currently running live sales through Facebook, where you can comment to purchase a featured item. It’s a fun way to interact with everyone and get great gift ideas for your loved ones, while skipping the worry of crowded stores! They allow pick-up and shipping options.

Eastcraeft

This boutique features the cutest clothing and accessories for the holiday season. If you’re looking for the perfect Thanksgiving or Christmas outfit, you should definitely check out their selections. They feature locally crafted goods and carefully curated consignment options. They do ship, but they’re also offering a special Black Friday VIP event that you can reserve your spot to ensure social distancing standards can be met. These knit beanies are on my list!

Zeb’s General Store

If you’ve been to North Conway, NH, then you’ve probably stopped into Zeb’s General Store. They’re a local favorite, with tons of quirky little gifts for anyone on your list. They feature penny candies, dips, salsas, sauces, chocolates, canned goods, and so much more. Sometimes it’s overwhelming to walk through the aisles because there’s just so much to see! If you’re looking for a taste of New England, there’s no better place. You can view their shipping options here.

Etsy

I know you’ve probably all heard of Etsy by now, but in case you haven’t, they’re an online portal for independent sellers aka small businesses. You can find literally anything on Etsy, from handmade items to antique, one-of-a-kind goods. They often ship USPS, so you do have to be careful of shipping times during the holidays. Two of my favorite shops are Prairie Hills Pottery and Magnolia Manor Décor.

What are some great local business you’ll be supporting this year? Share with me in the comments!

Holiday Gift Guide Series: Veterans

BLACK RIFLE COFFEE | 30 SECONDS OUT STICKERS & PATCHES | GRUNT STYLE BAGS | WOOBIE SNEAKERS | DECANTER SET | GARMIN WATCH WOODEN AMERICAN FLAG | W.T.F. KEYCHAIN | GREEN BEAN | NINE LINE WARRIOR FLASK | GUNS & COFFEE PATCH | MILITARY KEEPSAKE BOX POMADE

If you have a veteran in your life, than you may know how difficult it can be to find the perfect gift for them. They have all the gear and gadgets before most people, and it’s challenging to find something unique and useful for their lifestyle. For this guide, I consulted some experts who have used or currently own these products. Here’s our gift guide, straight from the actual veterans themselves!

An important part of this guide was to support and recognize businesses that are owned and/or operated by veterans across the U.S. With that in mind, these products are made with the utmost quality and are built to last in this ever-changing lifestyle. A company near and dear to our hearts, Black Rifle Coffee, was the first that came to mind. BRC is still fairly new to the scene, but they have locations opening up nation wide. Plus, they ship overseas!

Another company that we recently tested out product from is woobiesshoes.com. My husband got a pair of these about 6 months ago, and absolutely loves them. They dry super fast and are durable, yet very breathable. These are a great alternative to Converse and Vans, with an ideal flat-sole style for lifting/leg day. Coupled with a Grunt Style bag and Nine Line shirt of your choosing, this would be a great package-deal gift for gym goers!

I wanted to include some stocking stuffer ideas as well, from handmade items to essentials. There are tons of great keychains, stickers, and patches that could serve as a unique little gift for the veteran in your life. I found this particular keychain on Etsy, and there are lots of great stickers and patches to choose from at Medals of America.

My husband has what they call the “Pilot’s Combover”, and if you’ve ever stood underneath a helicopter, you know it takes a lot to hold that hair in place. He uses Combat Combover to keep things smooth, and there are options for female veterans as well! Plus, their unique product names can add a little dark humor to the holiday.

If you or your spouse has ever been deployed, you have probably heard of Green Bean. In 2018, my husband spent the holidays in Afghanistan and one of his favorite gifts was receiving coffee cards. Friends and family would order these online and have them sent to his email, so he could use them as often as he liked. Green Bean is now showing up on various bases, but if you’re spending the holidays apart this year, it’s a great virtual stocking stuffer idea. And you can add this Warrior Flask to keep their coffee hot!

If you’re looking for some unique ideas for memorabilia, we’ve put together 3 great options. My husband doesn’t like to flaunt his military service in any way; he’s rather secretive about it, actually. So he’s picky about the things we have in our home that may speak to his military service. These items were chosen with that in mind, starting with this keepsake box. He has a million challenge coins, patches, letters, stickers, etc. and they were really starting to build up. With some of these items being very near and dear to him, we wanted a safe space to keep them. This is a great option for current and retired veterans alike, and fully customizable!

This decanter set and wooden flag are along this same theme – quietly paying tribute to their military service. These would be great additions to a mancave, or for female veterans, the decanter could be added to your very own bar cart.

If you’re a veteran or military spouse, what are some gifts you found useful? Have you tried any of these?

Holiday Gift Guide Series: Fitness

GARMIN WOMEN’S FITNESS WATCH | GARMIN MEN’S FITNESS WATCH | FITNESS JOURNAL SET | KETTLE BELLS | PROTEIN POWDER | GYM BAG | REUSABLE COSMETICS BAG | GYM TOWEL | SQUAT RACK | BASICS SET | FLIP BELT | RISE & GRIND SHAKER BOTTLE | BOTTLED JOY SHAKER BOTTLE |

With 2020 still going strong, I find myself looking forward to the holiday season more than ever before. Our family has always been a huge fan of Christmas – the lights, the food, and all the joy with family and friends. I absolutely love shopping for everyone on my list, and there’s no better time than now to start looking for the perfect gifts.

I’ll be kicking off the Holiday Gift Guide Series with a few key items for the fitness fanatic in your life. My husband and I are those fanatics in our family, so we’ve used many of these items ourselves and swear by them. So whether you’re filling stockings or looking for higher ticket items, there’s something for everyone.

My Garmin watch has been a staple piece in tracking my fitness goals. This links up with my phone, and has a rubber wrist strap for optimal comfort. My watch tracks everything: steps, heart rate, elevation, weather, etc. It detects motion and will begin tracking your workout activity after a certain heart rate is achieved. It also tracks progress and will link up with the Garmin Connect app to track your distance, duration, and intensity. I know the Fitbit watches are super popular, but I was drawn to the larger watch face that the Garmin provides.

Another key piece to tracking my progress has been finding the perfect journal for my goals. I loved this one from Erin Condren that tracks my goals, habits, and milestones, and the pretty colors certainly don’t hurt! This set is on sale right now, and would make the perfect gift to help your friends and family dive into the New Year.

With everything going on, it’s been a while since I’ve had to use my gym bag. But this set from Target will always be one of my best fitness purchases. It’s fairly simple and affordable, but has some great features that make it the perfect gym and/or overnight bag. My favorite part is the separate compartment for my sneakers so I can keep any sand/dirt out of my clothes. These come in various colors, ideal for anyone on your list.

Some other items you could include with this gym bag are the Flip Belt, fitness towel, Stasher, and shaker bottles. These are essential to gym-goers and adventure seekers alike, and are great affordable options to fill this gym bag. You could also include a tub of Isopure, which is my absolute favorite protein to fit any lifestyle.

Lastly, if you’re looking to gift some equipment for the fitness lover in your life, I have included 3 great options depending on price and experience. For beginners, I love this basic set. It has a little bit of everything, and is all body weight based for minimal resistance. For those with a bit more experience, Rogue Fitness provides some great dumbbell and kettlebell options – including these. You could purchase a whole set, or just your basic 10, 20, and 30 pound options.

For those who already have the basics, you could consider more complex equipment. Squat racks are a great way to start building your at-home gym, especially since many of us are staying home for now. This power cage has multiple options to add on, so it’s a gift that you could build off of if you wanted to.

Fall Decor Favorites

WIRE TRAYS | AUTUMN WREATH | CANDLES | VASES |AZTEC RUG | MARBLE & GOLD TABLE | STRIPED THROW | BLACK WICKER BASKETS | COTTON STEMS

We’re finally closing in on everyone’s most anticipated time of year, and we were well overdue for a little decor refresh. This season I’ve been a big fan of the black and white contrast, and now I’m seeing it everywhere. I love how crisp and classy it looks, and I’ve included a lot of the inspiration in my fall style.

Some of my staple pieces in my home are candles, throws, and serving trays. I cycle through candles frequently, but this brand was new to me. I find that most higher end candles are $30-$40 which is just crazy to me since I go through them so fast. These were only $20, and they have the wood wick that I love. I call these scents “man candles” and you can’t go wrong!

I’ve been on the hunt for a new throw, and typically Home Goods is my go-to. I was pleasantly surprised to find that our local Target and Bed, Bath & Beyond were already displaying the fall line of Magnolia Home. This striped throw is currently on the way, and while it’s a little pricier, they have some great coupons right now!

For my serving trays, Amazon has some great options similar to this combo pack, but I’ve also seen these at Home Goods and TJMaxx throughout the year. I love the wire handles on these, and they’re a great addition to any coffee table or mantle.

Related: Bar Cart Reveal & My New Favorite Summer Drink

I wanted to add some softer tones to break up the darker pieces, so I added these cute matte vases. These can be displayed alone, or you can add some fall-themed stems. I display these in the corner of our mantle with our diffuser. I also added these black wicker baskets from Pottery Barn in the large and small, one to hold our new throw and the other to hold our cotton stems. These stems are an easy find at any craft store.

Our larger purchases sitting in the cart right now are this marble table and the Aztec rug from Ruggable. I’m obsessed with marble and gold, and this would tie in nicely between our two lounge chairs. The rug has been a long-awaited purchase, but I’ve heard great things about Ruggable and I love how the two-part design makes it washable and pet-friendly. I wasn’t sold on it until I saw it in person (shout out to Laura at This Northern Native!)

Lastly, we chose a new wreath for our front door. Right now we have a boxwood style green wreath, and we wanted something more rustic for that fall feel. I didn’t want anything too “Halloween-ish”, however, so I think this is the perfect in-between.

Have you already decorated for fall? What are some fall decor staples for your home?

Bar Cart Reveal & My New Favorite Summer Drink

Spring Patio Prep (3)

WHISKEY SET | LEWIS ICE BAG & MALLET | GOLD BAR CART | BAR TOOL KIT | BLACK STAINLESS STRAWS | BEE NAPKINS | MARBLE & GOLD COASTERS | LINEN BAR TOWELS

A big part of our “quarantine life” has been renovating little corners of our home, adding a personal touch. One of the first things I purchased was this little bar cart from Amazon, and it has been a blast finding all of the little trinkets and tools to decorate it with. I knew I wanted a two-tier, round design since this would be nestled in the corner of our living room, and this model is fairly small compared to most options I found. I was inspired to use gold accents to add some glam to our living room, since our color pallet is fairly neutral throughout our home.

I added this crystal whiskey decanter set and the basic bar tools to get started. This bar cart has a lower rack for you to hang stemmed glasses, so we may add some martini glasses later on. We also purchased the Lewis ice bag and mallet, which is a fun addition if you enjoy crushed ice rather than cubes (fancy!). For drinks that require a straw, I personally enjoy using the stainless option. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I like the way they make my drink taste colder! These black stainless straws come with cleaning pipes, and we keep them in a glass mason jar on our bar cart.

Summer Drink Inspo.png

To keep things neat for us and our guests, we added these fun bee napkins and gold rimmed marble coasters. In addition to the lower rack for stemmed glasses, this cart also has a rod to hang towels if you choose. We have these linen towels  for extra clean-up and a light pop of color.

I love the way that this has made our space come together, and has added something unique to our living space. We’ll definitely be using this for entertaining in the future!

What are some small changes you’ve made to your space?

Creating An At-Home Yoga Space

Spring Patio Prep (2)

BLUE VELVET CHAIRS | AROMATHERAPY CANDLES | MARBLE & GOLD TABLE | DIFFUSER | YOGA MAT | WHITE PLANTER | BLOCKS SET | MEDITATION PILLOWS

Yoga is one of my favorite ways to get my sweat on, and keeps me grounded during this crazy time. To eliminate any social distancing obstacles, I created my own yoga space at home using one of our spare rooms. I used different shades of blue to contrast with the neutral taupe walls, and kept most of the changes temporary in case we convert it to another guest room in the future.

I’ve always kept my decor fairly simple, but I’ve been challenging myself to seek out different patterns and designs that will pop. I started with this yoga mat (on sale now!) that come in various designs, from landscapes to animals. These mats are latex and metal free, and truly beautiful!

I had purchased the blue velvet chairs (these come in a set of 2, also on sale) back in March, and they did not disappoint! They’re so comfortable – we’re considering getting a second set in another color for our entertainment space downstairs. The gold and marble table also came from Target, and comes in a couple of different heights and sizes.

I included some other yoga essentials: candles, diffuser, and block/strap set. I have a TON of candles, and I love how relaxing they make my Savasana (meditation). I’ve added a couple of these diffusers that I start 20-30 minutes before my practice using pine, orange, and lavender scents. I also added these round meditation pillows that can be used as a bolster as well. I love how affordable they are, and they ship for free!

Lastly, I added a couple of these white planters with plant stands. The stands are fully adjustable and made of real hardwood. These also come in various heights (I have 1 short and 1 tall) and they look so cute nestled in the corner of our space.

Do you have a workout room in your home, or thinking about making one? What color pallet and design would you use?

Spring Patio Prep

Spring Patio Prep (1)

WHITE PLANTER | PINEAPPLE LANTERNS | STRING LIGHTS | NAVY PILLOW SET | CENTERPIECE CANDLE| MELAMINE GLASSES | PITCHER | BAMBOO FLATWARE | PALM PLATES | NAVY PLACEMATS | LINEN NAPKINS | RATTAN BISTRO SET | MEYER LEMON TREE

As some of you know, our farmer’s porch has been underway for a couple of weeks now. With that finally coming to an end, I’ve started ordering some items to prep our little space for spring and summer. We’ve been getting some warmer temps already, and we’re really excited to begin dining outside, finally

This year, I’ve been really into the rattan, so I was happy to find this bistro set for a reasonable price. Our patio currently has this lemon tree as well as two mini palms and an enormous fern. I wanted a space with a tropical greenhouse vibe, so we have a few more plants to purchase to make it complete.

Going with the palm theme, I found these melamine plates that come in a set of 5. Melamine is perfect for outdoor dining because it’s completely shatter-proof, which is ideal for those who have pets or kids running around.

We stuck with the color scheme of blues and greens with some yellow accents, and I love the subtle detail on these linen napkins to tie it all together. I always knew that my dream patio would have lots of twinkly lights, so we finished up with the large-bulb string lights and lanterns to highlight our greenery.

More pics of our finished porch coming soon!

7 Years of Military Life

The picture popped up on my timeline last week, looking back at April 8th, 2013. My husband, standing tall, beaming with joy as he swore into the military. And me standing beside him, proud as can be. It’s hard to believe that today marks 7 years of this military life. We were just kids; still dating, and so unsure of where we were headed. But this life swept us up and took us on a journey that neither of us could have imagined. Continue reading

5 Ways To Fancy Up Your Home

Home decor is one of my favorite things. With warmer weather coming, it’s the best time to revamp our homes. I could roam through the aisles of Home Goods for hours and be perfectly content.  I know some of you are totally on the same page, but for many, the whole experience can be daunting. Continue reading

Dealing With A Pandemic As A Military Family

There’s no way to summarize the stress and chaos that military families often go through on a daily basis. For many, this involves frequent moves, various levels of separation, communication barriers, health risks, and so much more. For us, life is often unpredictable. We can’t look too far into the future because we’re so deeply rooted in the present, navigating the many twists and turns. Continue reading